March 1, 2024

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This Maligned ’90s Kitchen Tool Deserves a Second Chance

Does an olive oil spray mister bring to mind images of dry, under-seasoned food for you? Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, without that luscious and much-needed slick of oil, or eggs cooked in a pan only just touched by flavor-building fat?

The olive oil mister has a terrible reputation, and that makes sense. Long marketed as a tool of the low fat diet movement to get the puniest bit of oil onto your cooking, it’s been more or less shunned in recent years. But don’t totally discount the mister: That fine spray it emits has a place in cooking (just not as the only oil on your food). Even if you love fat (delicious fat!) there’s a use for this once truly uncool tool.

Get your popcorn seasoning to properly stick

An olive oil mister excels at making things just-slick-enough without allowing them to get soggy. In a pan, that slickness is anti-stick; on popcorn, a fine layer of olive oil gives your nutritional yeast and salt something to hold onto, in addition to adding richness.

Spray just-popped corn while continuously tossing to make sure it’s evenly coated, then dust with nooch for a Bjorn Qorn replica. (Or make any seasoning combination you like: salt, pepper, and a handful of shaved Gruyère, smoked paprika, cheddar cheese powder….)

If it’s a buttery spray you’re after, melt a few pats, then whisk it into a neutral oil to help it slide through the mister easily. If your mister starts to seize up, hold the body of it under warm water to get things flowing.

Grease a pan or tray

Everything Pam can do, your olive oil mister can do better. Frequent bakers and roasters might like a set of two—one for a neutral oil like canola or avocado, and one for olive oil. That way, you always have the right bottle on hand for evenly coating your cake pan or roasting tray.

Glug glug glug for most things. Spritz spritz spritz for a few things.

Glug glug glug for most things. Spritz spritz spritz for a few things.

Photo by Joseph De Leo

Keep a high-hydration dough from sticking

To keep your hands or workspace slick while working with a sticky bread dough, mist it all with a fine layer of oil.

Get even the wispiest of broccolini fronds slick

Broccolini, that perfect veg, is why I first needed an olive oil mister. From October to April, I eat broccolini weekly if I can manage it. But when I toss it in the cast iron with a few lemon slices and a drizzle of oil, the wispy, flowery ends always ended up patchy: some parched, others soggy. Now, I toss everything in oil as usual, to ensure the stems get an even coat. Then, I mist a few spritzes right into the flowery ends, and crank up the heat for ten minutes.

Evenly coat a tray of eggplant

Have you left a Rorschach test of olive oil droplets across a tray of eggplant coins? Less messy and unwieldy than a brush, a mister will give you evenly saturated eggplant (or zucchini, or any other spongey vegetable) every time. No more soft vegetables soaking up puddles of oil in one spot while the rest remains dry—a mister gives you the ultimate control.

Misto Brushed Steel Aluminum Oil Sprayer

$10.00, Amazon

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Originally Appeared on Epicurious